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Phil Rigdon Joins EarthLab Advisory Council

Phil Rigdon is the superintendent of the Yakama Nation’s Department of Natural Resources

Phil Rigdon, superintendent of Yakama Nation’s Natural Resources Department, has joined the EarthLab Advisory Council. Chaired by former Interior Secretary and REI CEO Sally Jewell, the council guides and advises the EarthLab executive director on strategic objectives and connects EarthLab with organizations, people, resources and ideas outside of the university.

Rigdon is an enrolled member of the Yakama Nation and grew up on the Yakama Reservation in south central Washington state. In his current role, he co-manages and protects the Yakama Nation’s ancestral, cultural, and treaty natural resources. He represents the Yakama Nation on many regional environmental committees and groups, including the Yakima Basin Integrated Plan Executive Committee, Yakima River Basin Watershed Enhancement Project Workgroup & Conservation Advisory Group, the Washington State’s Columbia River Policy Advisory Group, Tapash Sustainable Forest Collaborative, and the Hanford Natural Resource Trustee Council. 

Phil’s decades of experience bringing tribal, state and federal agencies together for the betterment of natural resources brings an important perspective to the EarthLab Advisory Council. Many of EarthLab member organizations and Innovation Grant teams work with Tribal Nations on a variety of complex and urgent projects. Tribal communities have deep connections to the land and environment and are on the front lines of climate change, meaning they often feel the impacts the earliest and most severely.

“We’re very fortunate that Phil has accepted our invitation to join our stellar group of business, environment and social justice leaders who volunteer their time to support our mission,” said Ben Packard, executive director of EarthLab. “We are committed to learning from and respectfully engaging with Indigenous leaders in our quest to convert knowledge to action to solve our thorniest environmental problems. Phil’s appointment is just one of the ways we are delivering on that commitment.”